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Rated: E · Fiction · Contest Entry · #2207570
When you lose all hope, someone will surprise you every time.
My husband Johnny and I are what you call the working poor. Neither of us finished high school because I got pregnant and he went to work full time in construction to support the three of us. John Jr. is now old enough to leave at day care, so I've been working as a housekeeper in a hospital an hour from our run-down apartment in the middle of Jersey City. It pays enough to keep gas in my old car, the day care expenses, and just enough to pay the electric bill each month. Rent, groceries, and the rest come out of Johnny's measly paycheck. On weekends, Johnny works at a nearby store unloading delivery trucks. We hardly spend quality time together and I miss that. Needless to say, we know we will never be able to pay off what we owe on credit cards and no one will loan us a dime these days.

Still, I have done my best to look at my situation as positive as I can. I like to think we are blessed. Other families living in our building are less fortunate than us. But recently, when I thought it couldn't get any worse, Johnny's car gave up the ghost one morning on the coldest day of the year. He was already having problems with it for several weeks, but this time the engine had taken its last breath. It was not worth the money it would take to get it running again and we could not afford to get another. One more time being late for work would put him filing for unemployment, so he had no choice but to start using my car to get to work. For the last few weeks I have been using the bus system to get to my job on the outskirts of town. After dropping John Jr. off, I have to make four different transfers to get there. Because I don't get home until well after dark, Johnny has been picking up our son every day on his way home. I've been so tired that dinner usually consists of TV dinners or something out of a can.

Today, while at work, the maintenance supervisor told my boss he had just bought a new car and wondered if he knew of anyone who might want his 2008 Ford. My boss knew of my situation and let me know. I didn't waste any time approaching him and asked how much he wanted for it. "$5000, and it still runs like new", he said. He might as well said a million dollars because there was no way we could come up with that kind of cash with our credit. But I took a shot at it anyway and asked if he could finance it for me and he said his wife would kill him if he did. I thanked him and went back to work, not giving it another thought.

While waiting on the bus to take me on that three hour trip back home, the maintenance supervisor met me outside and invited me back in to his office. He didn't say what for, but I was praying that he was going to let me pay him a bit each month for his car. As I stood in front of his desk, he pulled out a paper, signed it, and handed it to me. It was the title to the Ford. He said, "Marry Christmas, this is my gift to you and your family." My mouth fell wide open. I didn't even know this guy, except for the times when I emptied his trash now and then. I had to ask, "Why are you doing this? No one gives a car away except on game shows!" He smiled and told me about what a man did for him when he needed money to go to college years ago. Without that help, he figured he would end up like his daddy and be unloading cargo down at the ship yard. He heard this internal voice talking to him since I approached him earlier and said it was screaming at him till now.

That was barely an hour ago and now I am back home early enough to pick up my son. I can't wait until Johnny gets home to tell him there are still wonderful people in this world with a big heart. I will say a special prayer for the maintenance supervisor tonight. Once again, I feel truly blessed. Marry Christmas to all!
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